Pre-NoDo WinPho Update Woe

After complaints about the lack of updates to Windows Phone 7, the first feature update, codenamed NoDo is practially upon us (after being delayed, obviously). NoDo brings performance improvements and everyone’s favourite smartphone feature – copy and paste. It seems that Windows Phone 7 made it out of the door with some deficiencies in the updating procedure, so we’ve been provided with a pre-upate update to update the updating.

Sadly for many owners of Samsung handsets, the pre-NoDo update didn’t work, and a small number of phones were even “bricked” by the update (the “fix” being to go back to the shop and swap it for a working handset). Fortunately I didn’t get stung by this – I’d actually attempted the update before reading that it may kill my phone, but having attempted it on my netbook, I didn’t have enough disk space available to do it.

Good news though – Microsoft pulled the update before it caused too much damage and released a new, better version making the Samsung-specific problems a thing of the past.

Except it didn’t.

I am one of a number of Samsung owners (I have an Omnia 7, but the Focus is also affected), who is experiencing a problem installing the updated pre-update update that updates the updating. Specifically, the process times out and offers up error code 800705B4. Microsoft has [sarcasm]provided a solution[/sarcasm] to this issue on the Microsoft Answers site – “temporarily delete media items from your phone and try the update again”.

This fits in with advice on the Windows Phone Help and hot-to pages about updating, which is linked from the Zune client when the error appears where it says that “Windows Phone Update requires that there is some extra space on your phone while it’s being updated.” Sadly neither that page, nor the “answer” on Microsoft Answers says how much space this specific update needs. You’d think they’d be able to know that fairly easily.

When I first received error 800705B4 I only had about 400Mb free on the phone, so I followed the advice and first removed all of my music from the phone. This left a whole gigabyte free, but the update failed again. I then removed some videos, taking the free space up to 1.3Gb. Failure again. Removal of pictures and podcasts took me up to 1.7Gb free – still no joy. Next I’m going to have to start on app removal.

Looking at some of the posts on Microsoft Answers, people have started out with as much as 3Gb free and removed content to free up over 5Gb in total, but they’re still getting 800705B4! I would love to see Microsoft telling us how much space it needs, or some evidence that 1.7Gb or even 5Gb is not enough! As it stands, their “answer” – that the update needs more free space is at best a fluke.

I can understand that the phone needs some space free to be able to complete the update, but surely it doesn’t need several gigabytes. If that was the case, then this problem certainly wouldn’t be specific to Samsung phones! Clearly something is still very broken with this update on certain Samsung firmware versions.

I’m starting to think that I may need to do a factory reset on my phone in order to get the update on. It wouldn’t take me long to get back up and running with most apps (although reinstalling them all will be a pain), and I can re-sync my media. The main problem is that Windows Phone 7 has been positioned as the Xbox Live phone and anyone who has to reset the device will lose any progress that they’ve made in any games because there’s no way to backup or restore application data.

As an early adopter, I expect some pain with a new technology, but this is getting a bit pathetic. I’m nearly mad enough about it to create a Facebook group!

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